World News

Israeli strikes on Gaza intensify as humanitarian crisis deepens

Israeli forces kept up their bombardment of Gaza on Monday after diplomatic efforts to arrange a ceasefire to allow foreign passport holders to leave and aid to be brought into the besieged Palestinian enclave failed. Residents of Hamas-ruled Gaza said overnight air strikes were the heaviest yet as the conflict entered its 10th day with an Israeli ground offensive believed to be imminent.

Bombing carried on through the day, they said, and many buildings were flattened, trapping yet more people under the rubble. Israeli officials issued multiple warnings of Hamas rocket fire into Israel.

Diplomatic efforts have been under way to get aid into the enclave, which has endured unrelenting Israeli bombing since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas that killed 1 300 people, the bloodiest single day in the state’s 75-year history.

But Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said there was no Gaza ceasefire and that Israel was continuing its operations.

“There are no such efforts under way at this time. If anything changes, we will inform the public. We are continuing our fight against Hamas, this murderous organisation that carried this (the assaults) out.”

Israel has imposed a full blockade and is preparing a ground invasion to enter Gaza and destroy Hamas, which has continued to fire rockets at Israel since its brief cross-border assault. On Monday, rocket-warning sirens sounded in several towns in southern Israel, the Israeli military said.

Israeli troops and tanks are already massed on the border. Authorities in Gaza said at least 2 750 people had so far been killed by the Israeli strikes, a quarter of them children and nearly 10 000 wounded. A further 1 000 people were missing and believed to be under rubble.

With food, fuel and water running short, hundreds of tons of aid from several countries have been held up in Egypt pending a deal for its safe delivery to Gaza and the evacuation of some foreign passport holders through the Rafah border crossing. Earlier on Monday, Egyptian security sources had told Reuters that an agreement had been reached to open the crossing to allow aid into the enclave.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, “There is currently no truce and humanitarian aid in Gaza in exchange for getting foreigners out.”

Hamas official Izzat El Reshiq told Reuters there was “no truth” to the reports about the crossing opening or a temporary ceasefire. Egypt has said the crossing was rendered inoperable due to Israeli bombardments on the Palestinian side. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday the Israeli government had yet to take a stance that allowed the crossing to open

Source: eNCA

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